LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: Luke Hodge of the Hawks and Blake Acres of the Saints compete for the ball during the round four AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St Kilda Saints at Aurora Stadium on April 16, 2016 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge has hit back at criticism directed at him by former Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd.

Lloyd said on Footy Classified on Monday night that Hodge should potentially call time on his career after 15 seasons in the AFL.

“Out of contract is Gibson, Mitchell, Burgoyne and Hodge. I probably think Hodge is the one most vulnerable at the end of the year,” Lloyd said.

“He’s played four games out of nine this year, he’s a banged up warrior. I’m just wondering whether Clarko speaks to him like he spoke to Crawford at the end of 2008 and says to him, ‘We’re not going to retire you because you’ve been a champion for our club, but we’re not sure where you fit within our framework.’”

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However, the Hawks’ skipper hit back on Friday morning, stating that the elder statesmen of the club, including Hodge himself, have been vital for the side even over the past few seasons.

“With Lloyd’s points though, the four blokes he mentioned came four out of our top five in the best and fairest award last year, and have been consistent for the last three years throughout the premierships,” Hodge said.

“The three other blokes haven’t missed a game or have played a majority of games for the last three years and they’re playing sensational football.

“When he goes on to say, ‘Not sure of a role he fits into our structure,’ considering over the last three years I’ve played back, middle and forward, and I’ve been captain.

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“Considering I’ve been injured, well it’s common sense, or it’s speculation to say he is the most vulnerable, because I’ve been injured.

“That might have been the conversation (Lloyd) had at the end of his career because he only had one role, but that’s the best part about our sport, everyone has an opinion about it, some people agree, some people don’t, and it’s my job to prove him wrong.”